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Craft Beer at a Diner?

I read an article on DCist yesterday, Local and Healthy at the Silver Diner, talking about the regional chain’s new menu featuring “local and farm-fresh ingredients, such as eggs, beer, and breads.” Obviously, the word “beer” caught my eye. I checked out the Silver Diner website and took a look at the new menu including their beer selection. Now, this is far from a mind-blowing selection, but the beers they chose are well beyond what I would expect from a diner.

St. George’s Hop Pocket 5.99 (they know about the mix-up and will fix it for the next menu printing in the fall)
Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout 4.99
Star Hill “The Love” Hefeweizen 4.99

Ype Von Hengst, Silver Diner’s co-founder & Executive Chef, said that providing items that are “local, fresh, and supportive of the local economy” is good for the customer and good for business.
When asked why only Virginia beers were offered, Mr. Von Hengst informed me that it came down to distribution and availability. Certain Virginia beers were available from the various beer distributors who service the 12 local Silver Diner locations. They could not identify a Maryland beer that was available at the same locations. Mr. Von Hengst did mention the possibility of each store sourcing their own beer and wine in the future, with the menu reading “Ask your server about the local selections.”

I am hopeful that this is a sign of things to come and that norms about craft beer are changing. We are used to having to go to a beer bar or a progressive restaurant to enjoy craft beers. Hopefully customer interest and the distribution system are to a point where an everyday restaurant or bar can offer craft beer and still turn a profit.

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